Staying Connected while Staying Apart

May 8 / CATEGORY: Fitness

Hi, Gators! By now, many of us have been social distancing and quarantining for over a month. This is a long time to not see our friends and family. If you haven’t been social distancing, check out this article from the University of California San Francisco that explains the importance of flattening the curve (Bai, 2020). And if you have, and are struggling a bit, here are some tips on how to stay connected to your loved ones.

Communicating with those important to you is one of the easiest ways to feel close to those you aren’t able to see in person. But instead of texting, opt for phone or video calls. Texting has become the preferred form of communication for most people, but texting can be impersonal. In a time where we are lacking the in-person communication we are used to, it may seem easiest to just send a quick text to whomever you are thinking about. Instead, try giving that person a call on the phone or using a video call service. This extra effort can make the conversation seem much more personal and is much more like seeing that person face-to-face.

If you are like me, social gatherings with groups is one of the things you miss the most right now. The good news is that there are many ways to still do that from the comfort and safety of your own home! There are many videoconferencing services that allow you to video chat with many people at once including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Skype. Once you have a group together virtually, the possibilities are endless. You can host dinner parties where you all cook the same meal and then eat together, put on birthday celebrations with singing and dancing, form a book club to discuss a recent good read, or play an online game to ease the competitive drive in those of us who need it. RecSports is offering weekly Zoom chats for those who love the outdoors to come together learn useful skills and meet new people who have similar interests.

Another option to stay in touch is to throw it back to the good-ole days and write someone a handwritten note and drop it in the mail. With all the extra free time we are finding ourselves with, we should have plenty of time to sit down and write a nice letter or even create a small piece of artwork. Sending our loved ones something physical is a great way to show them how much you care about them and that you are thinking about them.

It may be difficult to stay separated from those we hold closest to our hearts, but we need to work together to keep as many people as possible safe from this virus. Technology is an excellent tool that can be used by all of us to keep us from feeling disconnected, but don’t forget the simpler ways to keep in touch with friends and family. And keep in mind, taking care of our social needs can be just as important as our physical and emotional needs, and can help improve our immune system’s ability to fight off sickness (Cohen, 1997). Let’s all do our part and stay connected from home so we can beat this dangerous virus once and for all!

-Leah Pendarvis